The nation and the world changed forever 18 years ago on September 11th, 2001.
After the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City fell, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), New York Police Department (NYPD), New York Port Authority, New York Transit Authority and others associated with the safety and security of the city were forced to sift through the wreckage of the buildings that killed their coworkers, looking for survivors.
Among those rescue workers was actor Steve Buscemi.
Buscemi, before becoming an actor, was an active fighter in the FDNY's Engine Co. 55 in Little Italy, Manhattan, from 1980 to 1984.
On the day the towers fell, Buscemi showed up at Engine Co. 55 and worked 12 hour shifts for the following week, sifting through the rubble of the towers.
So why no glossy photos of Buscemi striding through the scene with an entourage, smiling for the cameras?
Because unlike others, Buscemi did not do it for the publicity.
In fact, Buscemi stayed far away from cameras during his time working back at his old station house.
When asked, the actor said:
"It was a privilege to be able to do it."
"It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside. And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn't really think about it as much, feel it as much."
Buscemi categorically refused interviews and photos while helping at the wreckage.
343 firefighters died in the September 11th attacks, protecting and rescuing others.
Many more have become ill or died since because of toxic fumes and harmful contaminants in and around the sites.
Reflecting on what happened, Buscemi said:
"It wasn't until I stopped that I really felt the full impact of what had happened. It would have been much harder for me to get through it if I hadn't been able to do that."
Buscemi's service is remembered every year on the anniversary of the attacks, as is the service of the rest of the rescue workers and volunteers like the many union iron workers who sprang into action on that terrible day.
In addition to being a stand up guy, Buscemi is a celebrated artist. Whether the part is small or large, he always delivers a memorable character.
Just some of the available highlights from this award winning actor's career are:
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